This is going to be a brief post since the kids are sleeping and I want to enjoy a little TV time with my hubby before it's time for the ball to drop on Times Square. Hopefully everyone else is enjoying the New Year's festivities.
I learned how to make these snacks when I was in home-economics in the seventh grade. I hear that they don't offer home-ec anymore, which is a shame because that's where I learned to wash dishes. This is a skill that I've utilized at least daily for the last 10 years, which is more than I can say for calculus. And not only did I learn a life skill, I also learned how to make this quick snack. Because of who I am and what this website is about, I've adapted it so that there isn't any refined sugar and it's made with whole wheat bread. I also added some nuts and ginger to the cream cheese for a little more nutrients. Finally my daughter LOVES making these, so I encourage using your kiddos as your dipper so that they can be involved in the process. It's the easiest dessert treat you'll make this year, so I hope that you and yours enjoy it.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Pre-heat the oven to 325F.
4 slices whole wheat bread
Cut the crusts of the bread.
3 tablespoons cream cheese (light OK)
1 tablespoon chopped pecans
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
Mix the above ingredients then evenly spread onto the bread. Roll the bread tightly, then cut the roll into 4 pieces.
2 tablespoons butter
Melt the butter for 30-45 seconds in a microwave in a small bowl.
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Mix the sugar and spice in a small bowl. Then dip your bread slices into the melted butter, then coat it in the sugar mixture.
Place the coated bread onto a greased baking sheet and cook for 12 minutes. Let cool briefly before serving.
This morning my little girl came up to me and said "Mommy, I love you." My heart melted, and then she followed it up with "I'd love you even more if you were chocolate, then I would eat you up." I'm not sure if I should be happy I'm not chocolate (she won't eat me afterall) of if I should be jealous. Regardless, it sounds like she needs something sweet to calm that matricidal sugar tooth.
We've had a couple of great days, enjoying family time before my husband and I have to return to work, school, cleaning house, a.k.a. reality. Yesterday we went to the zoo and I watched the fellow kids eat rice crispy treats while we snacked on pepitas and cranberries. I thought I was a super Mom, with my super daughter eating a super perfect diet, but then she insisted that we buy some melon flavored dino juice because it came in a collectable pink dinsouar bottle. Oh well, I guess those pumpkin seeds made her thristy. So in homage to the divine pepita- lots of protein, omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin K, iron copper, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese here's a brittle that's sweet, a little salty and so full of omegas your kids will dominate all the neighborhood kids in Memory.
Pepita flax brittle
Prep time: 20 minutes (mainly cooling time)
Serves: 5-6 kiddos
1 teaspoon butter
3 tablespoons honey
Cook the above ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until golden and bubbly. Then add:
1/3 cup flax seeds
2/3 cups pepitas
1/4 teaspoon salt
Stir in the seeds and nuts until everything is hot and coated. Then spread out on a small baking sheet that is covered with parchment paper. Let cool for at least 15 minutes, then cut into squares with a sharp knife. I hope you all enjoy these gooey wafers!
Don't foget that parchment paper- these can be sticky!
Simple and delicious with little ingredients or equipment needed.
We've been either on the road or holed up at various family members houses for the Holidays. It's been fun, even though we're all exhausted and now every member of our little family now has a cold in various states of progression. With all the festivities I haven't had much time to make snacks. To add to the challenge I don't have my usual cooking gear or my own groceries. We're currently at my in-laws in Payson Arizona and I think it's about time to make something. With the constraints listed above it won't be anything complex, just what I can find in their cupboards and fridge. And as I already mentioned, we are in Payson, and the grocery pickings are scant to say the least. There are only two natural food stores and the main attraction for provisions is the Super Walmart. In this central Arizona Mecca the parking lot is dominated by Wrangler-wearing men in Ford Pickups with deer carcasses sticking out of the truck bed. Even thought deer meat might make a tasty snack, it's not quite what I'm shooting for.
So for my healthy snack here's is something you can make with very little ingredients, so few in fact that you won't feel like your pestering your in-laws. It also doesn't involve much in the way of cooking equipment, just a sharp knife (make that a Gerber if you are in Payson) a cookie sheet and a drying rack. It does take time, but it doesn't involve babysitting the stove so you can go out and enjoy a hike in the interim. That's probably not as easy as it would be if you were surrounded by riparian beauty like we are, but just take your kiddos for a walk instead. After all, eating right is only half of the equation, and kids always need to burn some energy.
Cinnamon apple chips
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves: Depends on how large your apples are and how hungry the kids are
2 apples (gala are great, or just use whatever you have on hand)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 200F.
With a sharp knife thinly (to the best of your ability) slice the apples. Don't worry about coring them, just poke out the seeds when your reach the center of the apples. Mix the apple slices with the above ingredients in a medium bowl, tossing with your hands so that everything is coated.
Set the drying rack on an ungreased cookie sheet. Spread the apple slices in a thin layer on the drying rack. Place the entire contraption into the oven for 2 hours, or until apples are crispy but not too brown. Total cooking time may vary with the thickness of your slice.
I hope your kids enjoy this simple, rustic snack!
Try this healthy alternative instead of reaching for another Holiday treat
We have gotten so many Christmas goodies from the neighbors that I think my daughter is going to go into a sugar coma. Cookies, rice krispy treats, chocolate covered pretzels, it's enough to make me swear off sugar for the New Year. It always seems so much easier to reach for another cookie when your kids want a snack, especially when you're trying to entertain guests or carry on a conversation with that in-law you only see once a year. The Christmas cookies are already made, they're on the counter, and someone's got to eat them. Christmas only comes once a year, so what's the harm?
I believe in all things in moderation. One cookie isn't going to break the bank, but make sure that your kids aren't having sweets for every snack and forgoing meals because their tummies are full of sugar. Kids need healthy food to grow, and keeping them fueled with whole grains and high fiber foods keeps their blood sugar more stable. That translates into less tantrums and more energy, overall a happier kid. With all of the stress of the holidays, don;t we all want our kids to be a little more agreeable?
So here's a quick snack that you can give your kids in place of more toffee covered Crispix. This is another jewel from the searchlight home cookbook that my sister showed me, minus a few of the heavy ingredients. It's crunchy and hardy and will hold your kids over until their next meal.
Crunchy fruit peanut butter toppers
Prep time: 5 minutes
2 tablespoons chopped apple
2 tablespoons chopped banana
1 tablespoon chopped celery
1/4 cup peanut butter
Whole wheat crackers
Mix together in a small bowl, then spread onto whole wheat crackers. Enjoy!
I visited my sister this past weekend and she whipped out an old faded cookbook that was a gift from my Grandma. It was published in 1931 and is filled with recipes that were born out of a time when nothing went to waste. A few pages have fallen out but otherwise it is in excellent condition, especially considering it is a cookbook. My cookbooks haven't been so lucky, most of them are dusted in flour and my favorite recipes have stains across the page. But maybe that has something to do with the fact that when I cook, my four year old sous chef likes to do the mixing, pouring, sampling and general pouring everything onto the counter in the process
Some of the recipes are real treasures, with ingredients that you just don't find anymore. Case in point- sour milk. I just don't have that laying around the house. Well that's not exactly true, sometimes a sippy cup does get forgotten but the odorous curds are tossed as soon as a I find a cup tucked behind a book, speaker, TV, what have you. But regardless I guess it makes great bread. And some of the combination's make my crazy combos look pretty wimpy. For example, how about a dried apricot and horseradish sandwich? Anyone? What do you mean three year old's don't like horseradish? Last I cannot stress enough the use of lard, butter and mayonnaise. It's fascinating how integral these three ingredients are in so many recipes, and yet obesity was so much less prevalent. Even peanut butter sandwiches had mayonnaise as a base on the bread to insure even spreading. But I guess it goes to show, you can eat butter everyday if there isn't an all-you-can-eat pasta bar down the street
In honor of this family treasure I adapted a salad recipe from the section titled "cheese salads". No it doesn't have mayo or butter, but it's still pretty tasty. This snack is everything I think a snack should be- a combination of food groups (dairy, fruit and nuts), satisfying, and a little sweet to entice your kids. I hope you enjoy it- many thanks Grandma for holding onto this great piece of history.
Cranberry pear cheese salad
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes 4 snack servings
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
1 pear, cored and chopped
1/4 dried cranberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Simply combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Serve immediately or store in the fridge. Enjoy!
One way to get a little variety into your kids diets is to eat foods that are in season. An added bonus is that, not only will they get more variety, but you'll save a little on the gorcery bill too. That being said, it works great in the summer, when berries and peaches are afforadble and falling off the fruit stands like lemmings on a cliff. But in the middle of winter your selection is much more limited. So thank goodness for apples, which help get us through these dry winter months. They might not be the vitamin powerhouses that berries are, but they still have a good amount of fiber and some vitamin C. Even better, kids love these cheap fruits.
If you've read this blog before then you know how much I love to utilize nuts in my kid's snacks. I just love the longevity of the protein these seeds contain and the amount of nutrients they have. Around here pecan season started a few months ago, and so we decided to make a treat that used these meaty nuts.
I hope that you enjoy these muffins as much as we did. We'd already eaten half of them before they were cooled, and my little girl was ready for more as soon as she woke up this morning. And I think that my husband actually had them for dinner.I hope your kids enjoy them as much as we did.
Apple pecan muffins
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 7-10 minutes
Preheat oven to 400F.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whisk these dry ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl.
1/4 cup honey
1/4 vegetable oil
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (lowfat OK)
1/2 cup milk
MIx these wet ingredients together. The add:
1 cup grated apple
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Pour these wet ingredients into a well in the center of your dry ingredients. Then mix it all together with a wooden spoon until just combined. Add batter to a muffin tin until the cups are 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.
We always have to have a midmorning snack. Kids get up so early (well at least initially, until that whole teenage zombie thing kicks in), and that means that breakfast is digested and utilized before you've even made it on your errands. Thus I think that kids need a little energy boost around 9:30, especially if you want to get the grocery shopping done without your kids in a hypoglycemic rage. As tempting as that doughnut at the bakery might seem, why not nip that calorie need in the bud before your kids even know what hit them?
In that line of thinking here's a great idea for a brunch-meets-snack food. These are quick and fun to make, and they also have a lot of protein to keep your kids full longer. They also sneak in a little spinach, which is such a powerful food, chalked full of nutrients, that it's a great food to sneak into those tiny tummies. The best part about them- they require almost no baking know-how and yet still look like a gourmet chef's creation.
I just want to make a brief note about ham. If you can find a brand that uses less preservatives, the better it is for your kids. At a regular grocery store your best bet is Boar's Head, which is minimally processed. Otherwise look on the label and try to minimize the amount of nitrites and nitrates.
Ham, egg and spinach cups
This makes enough for 4 servings, so multiply as you see fit. We usually eat a couple per person.
Preheat oven to 400F
4 slices ham (black forest is best), preferably without holes
1/4 cup frozen spinach, thawed
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Grease a muffin pan lightly (I just spread a little olive oil around the tins with my fingers). Then lay in a slice of ham, so that the edges are hanging out of the muffin cup and create a rim. In a small bowl beat the eggs, then pour them into the cups. Add 1 tablespoon spinach per cup. Top with a tablespoon cheddar per cup. Bake 7-10 minutes, or until eggs are set and the edges of the ham start to brown. I hope your kiddos enjoy this snack!
Yesterday was my little girl's fourth birthday party. Bare in mind she's not actually four yet, she was born on Christmas Eve (3:36AM to be exact, they're always born at such godawful times in the morning). Thus you understand why we're having her party now as opposed to near to the actual event. To make life easy (and more economical, which I guess ultimately makes life easier) we decided to have a joint birthday bash with a classmate that was born on the 23rd. To my great delight, and after a little bit of fanangling, I ended up with a fair share of the food prep. And when I say food, let me not overstep my duties. It's more like I handled the snacks, which couldn't have made me happier.
For the birthday we opted to do a morning party with bagels and cream cheese. So for snacks I did the following:
1. Citrus slices: I quartered clementines and and cut up oranges to roughly the same size and set them out on a platter. I kept the skins on because it seems like kids ( and from my personal observation today, adults also) like biting the orange off of the skin.
2. Fruit salad- I opted for fruits that are in season right now, to be more econcomical (remember that overall benefit?). So we used apples, bananas and grapes. For the apples and bananas I first cored the apples and cut them into small slices. I cut the bananas into coins and then tossed it all in about a tablespoon of lemon juice so they didn't brown immediately. Then I added grapes and viola- furit salad is served.
3. Granola- I made the Holiday Spice Granola sans the cranberries. Why no cranberries? Because I forgot. My baby is cutting a tooth and I'm just glad that cranberries were the only thing that didn't make the list.
4 Yogurt- I have to be honest here, I didn't handle the yogurt. My co-party planner did and she got vanilla, which went great with the granola.
I guess it's time to address the cake issue since snacks have been covered. Yes I believe in keeping kids healthy with a nutritious diet. And yes, cake is full of sugar. But I belive in all things in moderation, so we did indeed have a cake. I got it from a local bakery that had baked it that morning, so that way it was fresh and didn't have preservatives and fillers like readymade cakes from box stores. It was good, and it made the birthday girl's day. It is only once a year that you turn 4, so I guess that a slight deviation from a natural, healthy diet is worth it.
I hope these snacks help you out when birthday roll around. The best thing that I've found is keep it simple with parties, then everyone (including you) has a good time.
Why not buy something the makes snacking easier? Photo by Simon Howden
I love making lists at Christmas.
I have a paper one with everyone’s names and gifts on it, then a mental one of all the things that I’m secretly hoping for, that way I’m ready when I need to drop a few hints.
So to help out those parents with a new Year's resolution of changing their kids diets for the better, I decided to make a list of a few snack making necessities.
May Santa find his way down your chimneys with a few of these goodies in tow, along with that sweater from Aunt Ethel.1.
A food processor- Large processors
are great for making sauces (like hummus) or pureeing veggies for hidden nutritional punch.
I also use them to make energy bars, chop nuts, shred cheese, the list goes on.
The small processors
are also really handy for when you don’t want to make a 12 cups of pureed spinach. 2. Popsicle molds
- I know it’s hard to think about popsicles in the middle of winter, but then again in Tucson it’s never too cold for a popsicle.
Regardless, these will make your summer snacking healthier and more creative. 3. Metal cookie cutter assortment
- So this might not be the coolest present on its own (you got me cookie cutters…gee, thanks) but it would make an excellent stocking stuffer.
Plus they can be used for so much more than cookies, like fruit, breads, gelatin, etc.
The metal ones are better than the plastic because you can use them directly on a hot surface, simply put them on the griddle and fill with pancake batter or a eggs.
It’s a great way to get a creative with your kids and get them more excited about a piece of cantaloupe. 4. Kung Fu Panda Bento
- Personally I don’t see how anything wouldn’t taste better when you’re eating it out of this cute Panda. 5. Klean Kanteen
- Kids need some refreshments with their snacks, why not try a BPA free, leak proof, looks like you’re backpacking the Rockies, kanteen.
An added bonus is that they come with a sippy cup adapter for the healthy snacking toddler.
I hope that these give you some great snacking gift ideas.
Maybe this year Santa could use a little fresh fruit as opposed to cookies for a midnight snack, even Saint Nick needs a little more fruits and vegetables this time of year. With kids the World over leaving hims cookies, it might be a nice change.
Happy Holidays, and for those of you that celebrate Hanukah I hope that you enjoyed the festivities this year!
I have to be honest here, she does pull out all the pimientos
Kids like unusual food pairings. Obviously they're not always terrific; combining every soda from the soda fountain comes to mind, but there are also some really tasty ones. They're more adventurous than us adults, despite the fact that they would prefer eating chicken nuggets and ketchup for dinner to seared ahi. So in honor of kids love of wacky food, I've decided to start a new category that pairs up unusual flavors, all in the name of getting kids to eat unusual mixes that are still healthy, unlike pretzels and ice cream, my personal favorite when I was 11. The chicken nugget rut is over, here are some fun alternatives. .
So crazy combo #1 is an oddball mix that sounds like something a pregnant Mom would wolf down in the second trimester. But in fact the flavors work together to make a tasty snack that my little girl loves. You'll have to trust me on this until you try it, it somehow melds into something that's meaty and satisfying. So for the first bizarre food combination I have... (drum roll please)..
PB and Olive pita
2-3 green olives (pimiento stuffed OK)
miniature whole wheat pitas
Simply spread the peanut butter on the pita. Cut the olives in half, then add them to the top of the pita.
I hope your kiddos like it, happy snacking!